A MALE nurse at a maximum security prison who admitted spending a night in a hotel with female inmate was struck off yesterday.

Geoffrey Lodge began a relationship with the woman while at Low Newton Prison in Brasside, near Durham, a conduct hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council was told.

The pair met up after the prisoner had been released - although she was back in the same prison just days after the rendezvous and the contact resumed.

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During their two-year relationship, Mr Lodge became "infatuated" with the female inmate - who was suffering from mental health issues - and confessed his love to her.

But he kept the fling secret from his wife as he continued to contact her, even sending the woman money.

He was finally caught by prison bosses when they recognised his voice after hearing recordings of him talking to the prisoner on the telephone.

Mr Lodge, who was found guilty of misconduct by the panel, has since been sacked from his job as a member of the nursing healthcare team at Low Newton, following two internal investigations into his conduct.

Mr Lodge was employed as a registered nurse at the prison by the Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust.

The charges relate to a period between 2005 and April 19, 2011.

The nurse admitted conducting an inappropriate relationship with the inmate, and spending the night at a hotel with her, on or around December 3, 2009.

He also admitted a charge that he failed to disclose details of the inappropriate relationship with her and that his actions were dishonest.

But he had denied that his fitness to practice was impaired, which was later found proven.

Alexander Coleman, panel chairman, said: "A striking off order is the only order sufficient to protect patients and the public."

He said that the prisoner has been a vulnerable patient with mental health needs.

Mr Coleman continued: "He (Mr Lodge) continued his relationship with her after being removed from the prison.

"He abused his position of trust and power."

Mr Lodge, giving evidence in his defence, told the hearing: "I sincerely hope that (she) is okay and that I haven't harmed her in any way."

He said the pair did not have a sexual relationship and had just talked while in the hotel room together.

Mr Lodge added: "I've lost my life, my house. I've lost everything."